• Few or No Friends

Should I tell people I don’t have friends?

Published: September 2, 2013 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | 48 Replies Continue Reading
In most instances, there is no good reason to tell people you don’t have friends.


Hi Irene,

I am currently a sophomore at a medium-sized university. In high school, I had no problem making friends and am still close with many of them even though we all went to different colleges. I also have a very serious girlfriend, but she does not attend my school.

During my freshmen year of school I befriended people in my hall and my suite, but did not like them that much and this year have grown distant from them. My best friend was my suitemate, but he has transferred to another school. I’m friends with my roommate but he does not like people and never leaves our room.

In an attempt to make more friends I have joined the marching band and I am also in the honors college. I have friends in both of these settings and actively talk to the same people, but once we leave I rarely see them.

It seems that most people already have a group of friends except for me and it is very hard to become part of someone else’s group. I am afraid if I try to spend too much time with people they will end up thinking I have no other friends, which is ultimately true.

I am not sure if I should just tell my sort of friends that I have no others and ask to hang out with them more, but I think that might be off putting.

Thank you for your help.

Signed, Rob


Hi Rob,

There is no reason to tell people you don’t have friends–although your question is one people often ask me about.

For one thing, in your case, you really do have friends but not the close friendships you would like to have at school.

And even if it were true that you had no friends, telling people that from the get-go can be off-putting. Right or wrong, people tend to judge others by their ability to make and keep friends. So disclosing you have no friends or fewer friends than you would like to have is nothing that needs to be stated explicitly when you are reaching out to new friends.

You are doing all the right things to make friends and I think you just need to keep doing them. Act friendly and show that you are interested in making friends. Continue to extend invitations to people to join you after marching band or other activities at school. Don’t take it personally if they have less time on their social calendars than you do. Since the activities you’re involved with don’t seem to be particularly fertile pastures for making new friends, is there some other club or volunteer activity you could join on campus?

One problem that pops out is that your roommate sounds like a real downer since you say he doesn’t like people and never leaves the room. Can you encourage him to go out with you once in a while? If you think he might be depressed, you might want to suggest he speak to someone at the student health services office at the university.

Another thought: Semesters go quickly at university. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see your high school friends and your girlfriend during the holidays and stay connected with them online until then. You might also consider asking for a change of dorms next semester. Having a roommate who is more social is another way to connect with more people on campus.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Comments (48)

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  1. clara says:

    isn’t not disclosing a lack of friends considered lying, considering that people assume that everyone has friends? what if they explicitly ask? if im having a convo with someone they refer to my assumed-but-non-existent friends, do I correct them?

  2. PAT says:

    Oh well after reading all the posts here I feel we’re all sailing on the same boat if not similar ,though at different continents and location , we could all have an online fraternity or something where we can stay connected, boost and help out one another. I am a kind Social worker myself and have been surrounded by a lot of people on most occasions and though i could solve many problems for others in many ways I am always so empty and lonely on the inside , wanted someone/anyone to hug me and say “tell me dear what is bothering you”? but seems like the world is too busy in itself and only take but never give , and recently when i acquired the friendship of a certain someone and was really on the right track as I wanted it to really work out as true friends but there’s always conflicts lately as that person has a fiance and the little pinch of attraction that stemed from that person’s part, i also followed suit a little ,now no matter how hard i try to move it back to when we were carefree good friends ,that person gets cautious and careful which breaks my heart as I thought it would last the test of time .
    I’m sure if i had some good friends to lean on it wouldn’t bother much after all .

    • Jane says:

      Hi Pat, I totally relate thanks for having the courage to share. Many of us are good at helping others but still struggle with personal connections.

  3. Kiki says:

    I wanted to post a question as we’ll , just could not find the link. I am a 22 year old female and have never really had friends. I mean I did but I tend to drop them for very little things but that mean a lot to me. From a young age, I think I have been very quiet and overly sensitive and when I moved to the u.s beginning if high school, none wanted to talk to me although I smiled and tried to be friendly. I did not speak English so I talked to other ppl from my country. After high school, we stopped talking. Now that I am slmost finished with college I cannot make friends because I am ashamed to say that I do not have any friends and people kind of know that I am a loner . I cannot even find a boyfriend because I don’t want him to ask what I do and who my friends are. Please help.

    • Dinah says:

      Hi Kiki, I’m a 21 year old female student. All my life I have had issues with making & keeping friends. I’ll either have no friends or a handful of superficial ones. I know what you mean about the boyfriend issue; the last guy I was with couldn’t understand why I only had one friend at the time, who he also knew, and labelled me ‘anti-social’ while disregarding the fact that I was trying to make friends. It’s also always hard making friends when you don’t have any others & can be particularly awkward when telling new ones that they’re the only ones you know. I currently have one friend..I haven’t told her she’s my only friend but I get the feeling that some people are able to pick up on those things. I would love to hear from you, Kiki. Hopefully things get better for the both of us.

      • KIKI says:

        YEs, I totally agree. You cannot make new friends if you do not have a friend to hand out and go places with. I never go out. My sister also calls me a loner all the time and she does not want me hanging out with her friends. That puts me down even more. I hate the feeling of being home on a weekend when my siblings are out until very late. They dont understand that the way they treat me has an impact on my self esteem. Whats worse is that I live in NYC where there are many things to do, just none to hang out with… I completely understand how you feel! my ex used to think the same thing about me having few friends although (people say) I am good looking. I really do hope things bet better though I am not so optimistic…:(

        • sunshine says:

          OMYY goodness i know how u feel… trust me, im not lying i was thinking the exact same thing. One of my new coworkers is starting to get to know me almost as a mutual friend and i am dreading the day he asks me about my “friends”. I’m a young 19yr old girl and it would be excruciatingly painful to admit that,. B/c of my terrible experiences in the past, I have my guards up b/c i have not had much luck. I will be ur friend:)

      • KIKI says:

        And Dinah, people think we dont wanna make friends when the reality is different.

        • Dinah says:

          Hey Kiki, I’m so glad you responded! I’ve made other posts in some other places around the site and am disappointed by those who haven’t responded yet, lol. You make a great point about meeting others through those you know. In the past, I have found that to be the best way to keep up with those I already knew and meet new people at the same time which can be so refreshing. I have to say though, your sister is being pretty insensitive. It may seem like common sense to think of how words can impact the next person before saying them, especially family, but sometimes people don’t think of that. Have you ever mentioned that her words bother you? I am going through something similar with my mother. She puts me down all the time, for unrelated things to this, and is well aware of what she’s doing. That added fact makes it that much more hurtful. But I don’t know your total familial situation, so I wouldn’t know for sure. Sometimes it’s better to voice it than to assume though.

          I can also relate to the thing with your sister and her friends. I remember a few months ago when I had the same idea from the suggestion of a therapist. I asked my sister if she would be okay with me hanging out with her and her friends. She told me yes. But when it was brought up a little later when I invited her to a session, she shared her true feelings and told me she thought her friends would think it was weird and feel uncomfortable. My sister is about two years younger than me, and isn’t that far from me in terms of life experience, but her and I are very different people. It’s possible your sister has a similar thought process.

          I live in NYC too, and it is hard in terms of coming across new people who are disturbed that I don’t go out. I think that because of our age, it has come to be something that is expected. I don’t tell them that I don’t have friends (there is the one that I mentioned, but right now our relationship is questionable), but they are always so shocked that I don’t. I don’t see what there is to be so shocked about though; it is very obvious that I am not the going-out type and frankly not everyone ‘goes out’ anyway, even when they do have a social life. But I know that this could be one of other things that make people dismiss me.

          And I know this is long, but after this I will close. Everything you said hit me, including that people think we don’t want to make friends. I have found that people will write me off just because I am noticeably quieter than everybody else, or just because I am not the first one to start a conversation all the time. A lot of people have this issue too and it’s only because others make negative assumptions that don’t turn out to be true. I’ll never forget how some people have treated me after discovering that I had no other friends besides them. People just need to learn to stop making these harmful assumptions, and maybe then it’ll be easier for people like us to make new friends.

          • PAT says:

            Seems like I’m barging in but Thank You “Dinah & KIKI” going through your posts made me feel better as to know I’m not the only one going through this phase of having very limited friends or no True friend at all. Was always the light of the group and whenever people had/have problems I’m the one they call even at 3/4 am in the morning but when it came my time to have a shoulder to cry on or someone to share the ice-cream with me ? there is none … and it feels awkward to go and just open up one’s story box without achieving that certain level of comfort. Hope our situations change for the better in the coming times.

            • Dinah says:

              Hey Pat, I’m sorry that you’re going through this too but I am glad that you feel better knowing that you are not alone. I’ve experienced exactly what you mentioned about ‘friends’ who will call on you for all of their issues and then when it comes time to talk about yours there is no one to turn to..since you read my earlier responses you know that I currently have one friend. I haven’t told her that she’s my only friend, however I get the feeling that she may have an idea. Unfortunately I am going through this same issue right now with her, and as I look back I realize that there is this constant pattern of me meeting new people, them not trying to get to truly know me as a person and them using me for a shoulder to cry on but then being unavailable to lend me their ear. Obviously, with time I learned to recognize what was happening early on and move on from the ‘friendship’ because they were only hurting me while the other person received all of the benefit. Yet it’s still disturbing to me that to this day this is still happening with me and I’m the one who is perceived as being the problem.

              I completely agree with your point that it’s hard to immediately open up to people after having just met them. It amazes me when I come across people that do this. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable and then I feel obligated to open up to them even though that level of trust isn’t there. But even though I feel that way, I still let some time pass without giving too much away so that feeling of comfort finally does settle in. Even though I use this tactic the person’s true colors show and it just turns me off from calling this person a ‘friend’ and then I am forced to move on because if there is one thing I can’t deal with, it is fake people…

              Thanks for the well wishes. I hope the same for you.

              • PAT says:

                Oh..goodness.. I also doubt myself whether the fault is with me that I alone find it difficult to befriend a genuine person ,while all those people out there has no issues having good friends ? But its the situation that has pushed us to the wall and hence with little assistance I hope we make it through. I would really like genuine people around me.. Besides my family.

                • Kiki says:

                  Hey ladies, after reading all of your comments and we understand how each one feels, why don’t we try to meet sometime? At least the few of us that live in NYC? What do you say? We have to do something to put this to an end!! 🙂

                • Dinah says:

                  I used to wonder the same thing about myself but with time I realized it was those people’s issues, not mine. I feel the same way as you do, though. It would be nice to know genuine people because this quality is becoming more and more difficult to come by.

      • prasu says:

        I feel the same kiki.Its so upsetting when you are so true to your heart and dont intend to hurt anyone ,and people just ignore you.I know how it feels.i feel so terrible right now.The only person whom i was friends with actually left me!

  4. Jean says:

    Hi I need some friends I had two best friend and they pass away I’m so long some I’m 67years old and I love to meet a friend I live in apopka fl. In Orlando to go shopping are go for lunch are just hang out

  5. C.j says:

    I don’t have any friends either. It makes me depressed a lot of the time, but what do you do? I am so freakin lonely. People see me on my own and they just want to judge me even more. I just can’t seem to make friends. Or, if I do, I just can’t seem to keep them.

    • Liz says:

      C.j, what has helped my son is to hang out a lot with family.
      He and I do a lot of things together. No it is not the same as having a friend or group of friends – but at least it is another person.
      Do you have any family? Older family that could use a visit every week?
      The other thing I’ve seen with making friends is (after good personal hygiene of course) that some people can just walk in the room and make a friend. I’ve never been like that, must be nice!
      So for the rest of us it is harder and sometimes seems like a good or bad luck thing to me. Don’t give up, take a good look at what happened in the past friendships and learn from it (even if it is to acknowledge that if you had had friends already that this person would not have been a friend to begin with), know that everyone (C.j too!) has worth and is someone who deserves respect and friendship.

      • C.j says:

        Thank you for your kindness and respect, Liz. I haven’t had much of that lately. I hope your son is doing well, and enjoys the company of family. They are better support at the end of the day. I still live with family (even at this age), so I spend a lot of time with them. But I still feel very very lonely. I know what you mean about walking into a room and making friends! You and me both! And that’s what usually makes me feel left out. It takes me a long time to get to know people, open up to them, make friends with them. Where I used to work, I think it took a whole year. And even then we had nothing in common. I’m awkward, there’s something wrong with me. I don’t think I’m worthy of anyone, to be honest. I feel hopeless about my life. 🙁

        • Laurie says:

          Not that it will make you feel better, but I’m in the same boat you’re in. One friend I had just dumped me for no reason and I have a couple of other friends I see once in a while but that’s it. No best friends, no work friends. I have no advice except to tell you you ARE worthy. Everyone is.

          • C.j says:

            Oh really? Sorry to hear that. He/she was probably an unfaithful user. I’ve had them all my life. The same thing has happened to me a few times as well. Or someone has done something to hurt me when I least expected. I have no best friends either, no one I talk to on a daily basis, no work friends (I’m unemployed), no partner etc either. Thanks for your beautiful words, and kind advice. I hope you’re right. But I can’t see it at the moment.

            • Tammy says:

              I have never kept friends either. They disappeared from my life. I was very shy in school and I have depression. I find myself now with not even one friend, two grown sons gone and on their own, divorced, no female friends. It’s hard and lonely at 55 yrs. old.

              • Janet says:

                I can relate somewhat. I am married with a teenage son, but no women friends to speak of. I rely on my husband totally for friendship and companionship. It gets stressful for him as he is my one and only friend in life. I don’t have much connection with extended family – my husband’s brother and his family have never been that invested or interested in us despite the fact that they live only twenty minutes away. We see them perhaps only three or four times a year. They don’t seem interested in socializing with us and the only times we tend to get together with them is typically at holiday times. My only sibling, a sister lives on the opposite coast 3,000 miles away. I often wonder if my son thinks it strange that his Mom has no women friends.

                • Tammy says:

                  My son’s do think it’s strange that I don’t have friends. I don’t think it is possible at this point in my life. I wish it wasn’t too late but I believe it is.

          • Mohini says:

            I want to tell every1 we all are hurt in a way or lonely thats y we are advising any1 as we can understand their pain so that means out there are thousands of people just like us and literally like us and unhappy,so try to make a bond with people around u having same prblm and whosoever is going out doesnt mean they are going out wd friends or like minded people,maybe they also dnt hv true friends bt having fun wd others bcoz they dnt have true friends either,therefore give it a try if nt possible try to take the first option and let me knw u I too had a breakup and it was a disaster I was sad I dnt hv that much close friends bt am happy bcoz wt happend should hv happened and am happy we are sharing just like friends do.

            • C.j says:

              You are too right. There are a lot of us here. And it’s a shame, really. Because people like us, we’re good people. But we are probably shy, oversensitive, and just aren’t that good with being social. Try and bond with other people have the same issue? I like that idea too. But sometimes, we are so different, that we just don’t have much in common and find it harder to bond. This is good – sharing is good. Thanks Mohini for the wise words and advice.

        • Mohini says:

          First of all if somebody is giving u advice to solve ur prblm that means u r nt alone and try to find some group with same interest like making friends or aiding people so that u cn have interaction and go out occassionally at least,it takes time to find a good friend,have patience,for that time being be active on facebook or any social site and try to make friends gradually

          • C.j says:

            Thanks Mohini. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one here. And those are some good tips too – I’ll keep a few of them in mind. Joining a group with a common interest is a good idea. You’re right, Mohini. It does take time, sometimes too long. lol I try to be active on Facebook, but I don’t really have anyone to talk to there most of the time. And there are times when I’ve tried to talk to people, but they don’t reply.

    • Jean says:

      Hi CJ THIS IS JEan do you live in Orlando fl. That is we’re I live at it would be nice if you did so we could be friends I’m so lonely I just like to have a friend I had two friends and they pass away get in touch and we can text each other thank you

      • C.j says:

        Hey Jean. Nah, I don’t live in Orlando FL, I don’t even live in the US. Sorry about that. Sorry to hear about your two friends. We can still message through email, facebook or whatever. Take care.

    • Kelly says:

      Hi I had a falling out with my group of friends and a few of them have moved far away and so I’m left with only couple friend’s so I would love to meet new people make some new friend’s ….email me if ud like to chat some more and let me know Wat area ur from and gender and age thanks 🙂

    • Shel says:

      Hi CJ,

      I’m sorry that you’re depressed and lonely about not having friends. Have you thought of joining a club, or doing volunteer work? I met some very nice people through joining a book club. Although I didn’t become close to most of the members, it was nice to be around people with similar interests and socalize. I’ve also volunteered for many years, and it’s another great way to meet people and do help with a worthy cause.


      I believe that having friends just stop cal;ling is a way to look for behaviors that might indicate if they’re going to be a good friend.

      • C.j says:

        Hi Shel,

        No worries. It’s something I get over sometimes. Yeah, I thought about joining a club. But haven’t got any ideas on what, really. Volunteer work sounds good though. Sometimes, I doubt I’d even be popular or “fit in” if I joined a club or group. So those things helped you with socializing? I was at TAFE, studying I.T. (got bored of it though), and didn’t really have anything in common with anyone there, and didn’t know what to say to them half the time. It was weird. I was also in a group for social anxiety, and felt left out most of the time.

        Yeah, true. I guess you’re right. It could be like testing the waters, and seeing if things actually work out. I like that idea.

        • Shel says:

          Volunteering did wonders for my self-esteem and my shynes. Instead of focusing on how I appeared to other people, I instead, focused on what needed to be done to help others. Volunteering really helped me out of my shell and I started to have more self-confidence. The book club was a way to talk to other people, and over come my fear of talking in front of a large group. The books were required reading, and I didn’t have to make small talk.

          I feel that you will find a true friend. Many people have lots of aquaintances, but real friends are few and far between.

          • Janet says:

            I joined a book club many years ago through a family network when my son was in preschool. It was ok for a while, but somehow I didn’t read between the lines and after joining the group it became apparent that all the women in the group had been friends prior to joining the group and all had similar age children. At least 1/2 if not more of the conversation at the book group meetings focused on the concerns of their mostly elementary age school children (my son was a little younger at the time)and thus I felt left out of the loop. We did eventually talk about the books that we read, but the meetings all began with conversations about kids that I felt went on a little too long. I was more anxious to get started on discussing the book. The women were nice enough, but somehow I never felt that I belonged there and wished that somehow I had been clued in before joining, that the book group was actually one big clique.

            • Shel says:

              Hi Janet,

              The book club I joined had a diverse group of people who were avid readers. The only unifying factor in our group was a love for reading. It also helped that many of the members were older, and

              • Shel says:


                very nice. I’ve had experiences with cliques and they can make you feel like you’re not part of the groupn so I know how you felt. Sometimes it’s just luck with finding the right group.

  6. Liz says:

    Rob, my son is currently without a lot (or any, most of the time) friends right now. It is his first year at college.
    I’d advise you to not tell people that you are low on friends. It is almost like you are on an interview for a job. You want the job, but if you say you are desperate – they get scared off from hiring you. Unfortunately potential friends judge you for lack of friends sometimes.
    If it comes up in conversation, such as: so Rob who do you hang out with? Tell them about your friendships at home, evade the question a little. If directly put on the spot, say that you have been so busy lately with whatever that you haven’t unfortunately had much time to get together with anyone lately. Most people will not even think of that as anything out of the ordinary. You sound like a very nice guy and someone who will be a great friend to have. Be confident in your attitude and remain positive.

    • C.j says:

      Hi Liz, I am sorry to hear about your son. He sounds like a nice kid, as it’s usually the nice ones who are often the loneliest. I am the same as your son, all I really have is the support of family. And at my age (28 soon) it is really depressing and disappointing. I feel like there’s something wrong with me. 🙁 New friends find out about a lack of friends and then they avoid you as well. I am unemployed, so I would find the same thing in a job interview – it’s been a struggle to get work or keep it. Friends are the same. Loneliness is both cold and crushing on me. I feel like I can’t even have a conversation with people anymore.

  7. Rei says:

    You DO have friends, there’s just a geographical barrier in the way. If you say you don’t, most people would probably feel awkward or see it as manipulative pity bait like someone here suggested. If you have made friends before, then you are capable of making more!

  8. Amy says:

    In my opinion, even though this is not your intent, if you were to ask people if you can hang out with then more and say you don’t have any friends, that would come across as manipulative and possibly have the opposite effect you intend. If someone said that to me, I’d feel like you were trying to make me feel sorry for you (again, I know this isn’t your intent) and I’d want to run in the opposite direction. If you simply asked go spend more time, that’d be an entirely different conversation.
    I once had a friend say, “I think you’re nice and I’d like to pursue a friendship with you.” Her approach made me feel flattered and I liked her directness. It felt genuine and not phony.
    I’ve had other potential friends say, “You’re so awesome, you’re this and that and wanna be my friend…” and I run in the opposite direction, because the higher the pedestal, the further the fall.
    This is over an almost 50 year lifetime, certainly doesn’t happen all the time, lol.
    I had new neighbors a few months ago and said, “we should hang out some time”–which is super indirect, but then I followed the statement up later. Now we’re pretty good friends.
    There are all different types of friendships, from acquaintances to activity companions to study buddies to bosom buddies. Having a variety of different types will help you feel fulfilled.

  9. Janet says:

    My husband becomes annoyed with me when I communicate to people that I have no friends. He insists that I have many friends and that I should stop complaining about my lack of friends. What he does not understand is that all of these “so-called” friends are simply mere acquaintances, people that I talk with from time to time, but don’t socialize with otherwise. If it appears to him that I have friends, then it might appear that way to others, so how does one communicate to others that they are seeking friendship and companionship. At my age, almost 52 and the mother of a teenage son, most of the women I know have already made their friends long ago, in college, graduate school or as mothers in playgroups,school etc. I have never been successful making and keeping friends in these situations. However, there could be others out there, just like me, who appears to know a lot of people, but who are lonely and searching for meaningful connections.

    • monik says:

      Having a meaningful relationship is very important but if you are searching and for that sort of friendship and you cannot find it, then my advice to you is to just leave things as is, if it’s to come your way then it will and if not, then it wont.

      All my life I have been searching for people with common grounds and I have been in contact with a whole lot of people but yet only one person could fit in that category , hence we are friends for over 11 years and I don’t have another friend apart from her.

      We value our friendships, it goes both way, we support each other in everything we choose to do, we took advice from each other and the list would goes on. Common-grounds in any relationship is the first foundation that needs to be established, if that’s not there, then there’s no reason to invest your time in building a friendship. Having no friends or having just a couple of friends is not an common thing anymore.

    • mary says:

      I like you , I have more acquaintances than friends.As years pass by, I feel that I just do not have the time nor the energy to invest into any kind of relationship whether it is an intiment or just friends. I am currently unemployed and taking care of elderly parents which doesn’t afford me the luxury to go out and socialize. I remember one friend of mine told me that me being alone suits me and I am not the type of person who wouldn’t be bothered by it. Now looking back of what she had said, I think she is right. I am too much of an individualist. I am 45 yrs old and I really don’t see myself having an overbooked social calender like most of my friends and acquaintances are married with children. Whereas, I am single with no prospects financially and socially. You Janet at least you have someone, your husband. Sometimes I wish I have a man in my life to share my ups and downs but it is not meant to be. You should be lucky you have a family of your own.

      • Laurie says:

        I’m glad I’m not alone in feeling that I just don’t want friends anymore. I’ve been burned a few times by so-called ‘friends’ that now I’d just rather be by myself (with my dog). Sometimes I wish I had a husband and a family but I don’t and being 58 it’s not going to happen now. However, I am content.

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